NatWest is launching a new online lending platform which will allow small businesses to borrow up to £35,000 in a process which takes around three minutes, with the money in their accounts within 24 hours.
The bank has already pre-assessed half a million small business customers, who will have access to the platform when it is rolled out this summer, and will be making a total of £4bn in lending available to them. When customers log in to their online banking they will each immediately see how much they can borrow.
The new lending platform represents a huge improvement in experience for customers. Small businesses will no longer have to fill in any paper forms and the new system uses what the bank already knows about its customers, so they don’t have to fill in any information unnecessarily.
As well as online, the platform also means improvements for customers applying for loans over the phone or in branch. Each route previously used a separate system, but all three will now use the new platform to process lending applications. This means customers will get the same great experience however they apply.
Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of Business and Private Banking, said: “As the UK’s biggest bank for business we think it’s important to listen to our customers. Businesses tell us they want to do their banking when and where it is convenient for them, so we have transformed our lending capabilities to make this possible.
“We also want businesses to know we are open for lending, so rather than waiting for them to come to us, we will proactively show them how much they could borrow when they log in to their online banking.
While Small Business Loan applications could previously take up to 21 days, applications through the new system mean customers will be able to quickly get the finance they need to seize opportunities. They will also be able to borrow with complete flexibility, as NatWest’s Small Business Loans come with no arrangement fee and no early repayment fee.
The new platform is the latest in a string of innovations from NatWest. These include Esme, an automated lending platform which offers SMEs the ability to digitally obtain loans up to £150,000 on a 24/7 basis; Nift, a software platform that makes T&Cs easier for customers to read and understand, and; a partnership with accountancy software Fintech FreeAgent, whose software can be linked to customers bank accounts to save them valuable time.